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Pirates' Kang Jung-ho to undergo season-ending wrist surgery

All Headlines 01:03 August 04, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- Pittsburgh Pirates' South Korean infielder Kang Jung-ho will undergo season-ending wrist surgery, sources close to the player said Saturday.

According to the sources, Kang has recently decided to go under the knife after consulting with the club.

It's the latest blow to what once seemed to be a promising big league career.

In this Associated Press file photo from Oct. 1, 2016, Kang Jung-ho of the Pittsburgh Pirates watches his three-run homer against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of their major league regular season game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. (Yonhap)

The 31-year-old missed the entire 2017 season with legal trouble in Seoul. Kang was arrested and charged with fleeing the scene of an accident after driving under the influence of alcohol in Seoul in December 2016. It was his third DUI arrest in South Korea, and he received an eight-month jail term, suspended for two years, in March 2017. He lost his appeal two months later.

Though he avoided prison time, Kang was denied a U.S. work permit after his arrest and was unable to enter the United States to play for the Pirates. He got his visa in April this year.

He joined the Pirates' Advanced A affiliate, Brandenton Marauders, early June, and batted .417 with three homers and 11 RBIs in seven games before earning a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.

In nine games with the Indians, Kang batted .235 with five RBIs and no homers, and was placed on the disabled list on June 27 with left wrist sprain.

According to the sources, Kang had an option to have surgery in July but he opted to go through rehab instead.

He was scheduled to play in a rehab game on Tuesday but suffered a setback that kept him sidelined.

A former All-Star shortstop in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO), Kang signed a four-year, US$11 million deal before the 2015 season, with a $5.5 million team option for the fifth season. He is the South Korean first position player to jump from the KBO to the big leagues.

Kang finished third in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2015 after batting .287 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs in 126 games. The following year, he had 21 homers and 62 RBIs, with a .255 batting average in 103 games.

Kang's last big league game came on Oct. 2, 2016, against the St. Louis Cardinals.


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